In the homestretch of the health care debate, one obvious question being asked across the capital is whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi will find 216 votes to pass the bill. For a group of particularly jittery Democrats, the better question may be this: Who will be allowed to slip away?
Yes, the 11th-hour vote tallying is under way at a brisk pace in offices from Capitol Hill to the West Wing, with Ms. Pelosi and her lieutenants keeping hour-by-hour tabs on wavering Democrats.
But as the week inches along, with momentum steadily building to a Sunday vote, the party leaders are also beginning to decide which politically endangered lawmakers will be given absolution to vote no.
Democratic lawmakers know how unpopular Obamacare is, they know the constituents are against it, they know voting for Obamacare will harm their chances in reelection bids and they know that it is going to cost some of their members their careers and yet they continue to push anyway because they wish to push Obama's agenda.
Absolution to vote no.
Think of what that one sentence itself actually says about the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives.
They need to give members absolution to say no to save their jobs.